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3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles vs. Designer Shingles: How to Decide What is Best for Your Home

December 4th, 2023 | 3 min read

By Jeffrey Linta

shingle roof

When it is time to select the right roofing shingles for your home, it may seem like there are so many types, styles, and colors to choose from. Not only that, but friends, family, and neighbors all seem to have conflicting opinions on what kind of shingles you should choose. This can be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating when you are in the market for a new roof.

Whether you’re focused on cost-efficiency, longevity, or enhancing your home’s curb appeal, this roof shingle comparison guide will shed light on all the pros and cons of each shingle type – providing you with the insight you need to pick the right shingles for your home.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between three types of asphalt shingles and talk about how the weather in your area may impact your decision on what roofing material is best for you.

At Linta Roofing, we complete around 400 roofing projects a year in Myrtle Beach and often recommend architectural shingles to residents in this area. This choice is rooted in cost-effectiveness and durability, as architectural shingles hold up well to the weather changes that happen in Myrtle Beach each year.

However, depending on where you live and your personal preferences, it is beneficial for you to compare all the options available to you.

Asphalt shingles are available in three kinds: 3-Tab Shingles, Architectural Shingles, and Designer Shingles. Each of these shingle kinds come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, which can impact the aesthetics, durability, and overall value of your roofing investment.

3-Tab Shingles: $330-$450 (per square)

A 3-tab shingle is a common kind of asphalt shingle used on residential properties. These shingles are made of a single layer of material with notches or cutouts that create 3 individual tabs along the lower edge of each shingle. These tabs are usually evenly spaced and give the shingle a uniform, flat appearance.

  • Pros:
    • Lower initial cost 
    • Their simple design makes them easy to repair
    • A wide variety of colors to choose from
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable against high winds and harsh environments as architectural shingles (Typically 60 mph wind rated)
    • A shorter lifespan (Often less than15 years) 
    • Typically seen as a low quality or “builder grade” shingle

Architectural Shingles: $350-$550 (per square)

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, are an intermediate roofing material designed to enhance both the aesthetic appeal and durability of a roof. Their distinct multi-dimensional look mimics the texture of natural materials like wood shake. These shingles have multiple layers, making them more resilient to harsh weather conditions.

  • Pros:
    • Last an average of 18-25 years 
    • Saves money in the long run in comparison to 3-tab (less prone to damage)
    • Thick and durable 
    • More enhanced aesthetic options to choose from
    • Significantly higher wind rating than 3-tab (110 mph or greater)
    • More advantageous warranties than 3-tab
  • Cons:
    • More costly than 3-tab shingles
    • Can be too heavy for a home’s structure 

Designer Shingles: $400-$600 (per square)

Designer shingles are high-end roofing shingles. Designer shingles combine aesthetic elegance and extraordinary performance. These shingles are crafted to feature unique patterns, textures, and colors to maximize curb appeal. Not only that, but designer shingles also have superior resistance against extreme weather conditions, UV rays, and wear and tear.

  • Pros:
    • Wide range of styles and colors to choose from (styles can imitate other roof types such as slate, shake or tile)
    • Typically come with greater algae warranties
    • Relatively low-maintenance
    • Luxury product (styles can imitate other roof types such as slate, shake or tile)
    • Increases your home’s curb appeal 
  • Cons:
    • More challenging to match style and color during repairs and replacements
    • Higher cost than 3-tab and architectural shingles
    • Majority of HOAs do not permit designer shingles
    • Limited availability
    • Materials are frequently phased out

These options allow you to have some control over the longevity of your shingles and the look you are hoping to achieve with your new roof! Gaining a better understanding of the pricing for each type of shingle and the various factors influencing a roof replacement will assist you making a decision. As you determine the most suitable option for your home, consider your specific location and the weather conditions your roof must endure.

Every type of shingle has an average lifespan. However, the lifespan of your shingles can vary based on the area, climate, and weather conditions where you live.

Homes located far away from the beach with many surrounding trees tend to have a longer lifespan. On the other hand, homes exposed to direct sunlight, heavy rain, or extreme weather conditions may have a shorter lifespan. 

For Myrtle Beach residents in need of roofing repairs or replacements, we typically recommend shingles that can withstand heat and hold up during the hurricane season.

When comparing shingles, note the conditions you live in. Do you need a shingle that can withstand heavy snowfall? Or maybe extreme heat? Ask your self these questions as you navigate selecting the right shingles for your roof.

When it comes to choosing the right shingles for your home, you may hear plenty of friends, family, and neighbors say things like “lighter-colored shingles are better” or “you want a shingle that will last 30 years”. And while asking these questions may be helpful, it also can become overwhelming quickly, leaving you as the homeowner confused about what to do.

Now, you can silence all false beliefs by making your choice based on what truly counts: the lifespan of your new roof and the aesthetic look you hope to achieve.

Your roofing shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements. Now that you know more about the quality of each shingle kind, it is important to consider the factors that contribute to the overall cost of your roofing project.

As you gain knowledge about roofing materials and your chosen roofing contractor, we hope to provide information that will allow you to proceed with your roofing project with confidence!

Jeffrey Linta

Jeffrey Linta is a 3rd generation roofer who grew up working in his family's roofing business (Linta Roofing, Inc.). He got his start tearing off roofs during the summer while attending North Myrtle Beach High School. Now running one of the most successful roofing businesses in the Grand Strand area, Jeffrey has lived and breathed roofing for his entire working career. Some of his accolades include GAF Master Elite Contractor, SC Safehome certified contractor, Group 5 SC Licensed Commercial Contractor, and GAF Master Commercial roofing contractor. Under his leadership, Linta Roofing, Inc. has served thousands of homeowners and business owners in the Grand Strand area. Linta Roofing achieved awards like the Sun News’s “Best of the Beach” and A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau all while receiving hundreds of 5-star reviews year after year. Jeffrey is a Grand Strand born and raised local. When he is not running Linta Roofing, he spends time fishing with his wife Erica and walking the beach with his dog Dixie.